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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief says Turkey has right to defend itself amid Syria campaign

26 January 2018

According to two major Turkish dailies, Hurriyet Daily News (Ankara) and Daily Sabah (Istanbul), the official sources said, "Trump did not express concern over a so-called escalating violence as a result of Turkey's anti-terror operation in Afrin".

"We were comfortable here, my children were attending school, we used the hospitals, and we had no problems", she said, blaming the USA and the PKK for all of what was happening now.

General Joseph Votel, the head of the US Central Command, and Brett McGurk, the White House envoy for the war against IS, have both visited eastern Syria separately in the past week, meeting with Kurdish officials to consult and assess stabilization efforts in the region.

"Those who support the terrorist organisation will become a target in this battle", Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said.

The YPG have been armed by the United States as part of the broader fight against the so-called Islamic State.

The differing accounts offer a glimpse into how deep the mistrust has become between the two largest military powers in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, over the issue of American support for the Syrian Kurdish fighters.

A YPG spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Afrin is separated from Manbij and the rest of the territory held by the Kurdish-led forces by a strip of land held by Assad's government forces.

Erdogan said Turkish-led forces would extend the mission to Manbij, a city captured from IS in 2016 by Kurdish-led forces, backed by the United States.

"We experienced war once in Syria, and we don't want it here", Ahmar added.

Yucel himself said this month, in a written interview with German news agency DPA from his Turkish jail cell, that he was "not available for any dirty deals" to win his freedom.

"Regarding our position on an invitation - if it happens - we will not attend the congress in the light of this barbaric, occupation aggression on Afrin", Jia Kurd said. They were deployed there last March to deter Turkish and US -backed rebels from attacking each other and have also carried out training missions in Manbij.

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According to the White House, Donald Trump called Mr Erdogan on Wednesday, urging him to curtail the operation and warning Turkey not to risk coming into conflict with U.S. forces.

However Turkey has disputed that characterisation of the conversation.

Xelil also alleged the Turkish military was greatly exaggerating the number of SDF and YPG casualties, and that the SDF had killed tens of Turkish forces and allied Free Syrian Army fighters.

It comes as Turkish operation dubbed 'Olive Branch' in the Kurdish-dominated Afrin enters its sixth day.

They appear to have made only limited gains, hampered by rain and clouds, which have limited the air support.

The U.K. -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that at least 42 Kurdish fighters have been killed since Saturday.

Scaling back the military assistance to the Kurds is one of the latest moves by the Trump administration and in numerous instances it has exuded much confidence in it.

During a telephone call with Erdogan, Trump called on Ankara to curtail its operations and avoid risking a clash with American forces deployed in the region.

"Washington has been making open as well as behind-the-scenes deliveries of modern weapons into Syria, in order to transfer them to the detachments that are cooperating with it, first of all, the Syrian Democratic Forces that rely on Kurdish militias", Lavrov said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated Ankara's demand that Washington stop supporting the YPG. Turkey considers the PKK to be a terrorist organization that threatens its territorial integrity. Washington sees the YPG as an effective partner in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

It would not be correct to discuss establishing a "security zone" in coordination with the US before trust between Ankara and Washington is re-established, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on January 25. Turkey denies hitting any civilians. Activists and Kurdish officials say airstrikes are still raining down on several parts of the district, which borders Turkey.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief says Turkey has right to defend itself amid Syria campaign